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Did you know: Hiring family members can be discriminatory?

by , 29 September 2014
You own a business and you're recruiting new employees.

Your cousin applies and you're considering giving him a job over another applicant.
He is, after all, your favourite cousin and he's been without a job for some time now and he's a good guy.

While your intentions are good, hiring your cousin over the other applicant could be seen as discriminatory.

It's true.

Read on to find out why hiring family members can be discriminatory so you can avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

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  • 6 Steps to assess your current EE situation. Discover what changes you need to make in your company to comply with the new Employment Equity Act
  • 6 practical ideas and methods to incorporate the new EE requirements so you can comply with the changes as easily and quickly as possible
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Be warned! Employing family members can be discriminatory

In terms of the EEA, there are certain discriminatory selection practices you must avoid. Nepotism is one of them.

If you give a job to your cousin over an applicant with better qualifications, he can say you discriminated against him because of family ties.

This means, he can take you to the Labour Court for this and the verdict is likely to be in his favour.

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, in the case between De Kok vs Munisipaliteit van Villiersdorp 2001 10 BLLR 1111,  the Labour Court found that a Villiersdorp mayor unfairly discriminated against job candidates by preferring a family member for a position.

So what other discriminatory selection practices must you avoid?

The other discriminatory selection practices you must avoid are as follows: 

The EEA says you mustn't discriminate based on:
  1. Race;
  2. Gender;
  3. Political opinion;
  4. Trade union affiliation;
  5. Religion;
  6. Pregnancy;
  7. Marital status;
  8. Family responsibility;
  9. Ethnic or social origin;
  10. Sexual orientation;
  11. Age;
  12. Disability;
  13. HIV status;
  14. Conscience;
  15. Belief;
  16. Culture;
  17. Language; and
  18. Place of birth.
Here's the bottom line: Nepotism is discriminatory. If you don't want to find yourself on the wrong side of the EEA, think twice before you consider hiring family members.

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